Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Bringing it all together...

Now that I've sorted through almost two months of detailed notes for creating a new household planner and refined and divided them all into appropriate categories which should work for our home, I purchased a large arch lever binder and dividers to gather everything in one place.
Rather exciting!

I also chose a new name for my household planner, The Gentle Homemaker's Companion, because it's going to sit on my desk and hold all the bits and pieces of information I need to run this home - the too-numerous-to-count things that my mind simply cannot remember all by itself, even after a triple-shot Doppio coffee. 

But of course, in my home not many things are left without some form of decoration, some dab of prettiness, even amidst their functionality. So my binder needed a cover.

I spent a night and a morning going through my very large box of completed stitcheries, finally selecting three contenders who would be worthy of display on the cover of my Gentle Homemaker's Companion. Another day passed before a decision was made, and it was based on what I felt best described my view of home life...

I even found a half yard of fabric in my stash which blended beautifully with the stitchery threads and applique. The tiny cross stitches in the fabric just ooze 'home'.

The embroidery design is from a year or two ago (the pattern is still in my shop)  and after originally thinking it would be lovely framed I'd changed my mind and packed it away until a better use came to mind, and I'm so glad I did.

After making a basic cover for the binder the embroidery block was blanket stitched to the front and bits of lace sewn in place with a couple of vintage buttons from my collection.

Fortunately the dividers I purchased before making the cover also complement the fabric and stitchery colours.
Peach, mint, golden brown and aqua. 

I'm so happy with the end result!
Now all I need to do is transfer my household planning information into the appropriate sections of the Gentle Homemaker's Companion.

This really will simplify things for me.
And simple things help to make a house a home...

If you're wondering what categories I'll be including inside the binder here's a few -

* Shopping Lists, Pantry Stock & Menu Plans
(includes a rotating fortnight of tried and true recipes plus a few new recipes I'd like to try, plus preserving and sour dough information)

* Gifts to Make or Purchase
(includes a yearly calendar with all birthday or special occasions which require a gift, card making ideas, and any other information which may prove useful in making or purchasing gifts for a particular recipient)

* Cleaning Master Sheets and Homemade Cleaning Products
(includes detailed room-by-room lists for seasonal deep cleaning, plus recipes to make my own cleaners and household products)

* Patterns for Household Items
(includes knitting or crochet patterns for dishcloths, sewing patterns for aprons, peg bags, door stoppers, fabric storage boxes and other items for the home in general)

* Pets
(includes all pet health information)

* Health
(includes all current health details, health provider contacts, current prescriptions, natural remedies and helpful information for alternative treatments)

* Garden
(includes files on what we are growing now, what we want to grow suitable to our climate, and how to care for what we plant and grow)

* Warranties/Receipts/Insurance information

* Emergency Numbers and Contacts

I also have a large recipe binder which I use to hold all our family's favourite recipes, as well as new recipes to try in the future. 

(the stitchery on the cover is also in my shop)

It's from this binder that I will choose a smaller selection each fortnight to put in the Menu Planning section of the Gentle Homemaker's Companion. 

I'm gradually sifting through all the recipes gathered over the years and which had been saved onto my computer in order to print them up for this folder. I tend to wait until my ink cartridges are almost empty and then print as many recipes sheets as possible to use up every last drop of ink - that's why this project has been taking time. However, a blessing the other day was discovering my local supermarket was getting rid of all their printer cartridges and there were two for my printer at 75% off the full price. I was grinning from ear to ear as I handed over the money and popped them in my bag! 
Now I can set to work and print all I need to fill my recipe binder.

I know this sort of planning isn't everyone's cup of tea, but for me it's peace of mind, a road to follow which turns chaos into calm and allows me breathing space in what can often be a busy life of juggling home, family and business.

If I'd not followed this example when I was a homeschool mum I doubt my sanity would have survived, but that lovely cadence of order and rhythm was a blessing beyond words so I know it works for me.

My new routine of stitching one of Allie's "A Garden of Contentment" blocks each Sunday continues.
The words give me much to pray over, to ponder how I live them out through my own day to day life.

This week's block was "Mercy" and here's my version of Allie's design...

When I was in Bible College one of my lecturers had a wife who told me she'd chosen not to walk in mercy, that she had no desire for it, and I was shocked.

To follow Jesus is to be transformed by the renewing of your mind, to have your old nature replaced by His, and as mercy is a big part of Jesus' nature I prayed to not be like her, but to have a merciful heart and grow always in mercy.

As I stitched Allie's 'Mercy' block on Sunday that prayer was offered once more because mercy is something I need to always be growing in, always offering. And I pray the Lord's mercy will forever be upon my life for His mercies are new every day, and I need them every day.

The other week Fee drew my attention to a series she's been watching and thought I'd enjoy it too.
Enjoy it?
Oh my, I am loving it. The sense of community in times of trial, the respect given one to another, modesty, kindness, the dresses, the quilts, making do with what you have, trusting God...things I personally treasure but see less and less of in this 21st century world. 

I enjoyed season 1 so much that I purchased the audio book and each afternoon as I do a bit of hand sewing or stand in the kitchen preparing meals for my husband, I listen to a chapter.

"When Calls My Heart"...

I think I'll add another category to my Gentle Homemaker's Companion.

* Books I'd like to read, movies I'd like to watch, places I'd like to go and other things which may add inspiration to my life.

Do you have good reading suggestions?
I'm not much of a fiction reader, but I am about to re-read Little House on the Prairie because you'd be amazed at how much homemaking lies within those pages, and it's those sorts of books I tend to enjoy.

Blossom is almost 39 weeks pregnant and had a false alarm labour the other day, but with a birth imminent she would appreciate your prayers for a calm, gentle and safe delivery.
(( thank you))

God bless you dear ones. May this week offer many sources of inspiration for your very own life so that your cup runneth over with all manner of goodness...



Ondrea said...

I love that tv series and have watched all the seasons on Netflix. I am also an avid fan of Little House on the Praire and all things Laura Ingalls Wilder. She was an amazing strong woman. I love how you are so organised. We tend to have a lot of files in a filing cabinet which we have recently sorted through and thrown out things that were decades old lol. That stitchery is perfect for your binder. I have been thinking of Blossom and send her many angel hugs. The Waltons is a series I also love but can't seem to find season 7 or later. I am enjoying Michael Landon's Highway to Heaven series on Netflix. It is a bit dated but it is such a lovely series.

e l i z a b e t h ♡ said...

This post was purely delightful, Jenny! Oh, how lovely your stitchery designs are on your binders. I, too, have a recipe collection which I keep in several binders, though I must say they are needing some tidying up at the moment. I love your heart for your home and desire to honor and glorify the Lord through your sphere. It is a blessing to see Titus 2 women are still out there ♥

I have the "When Calls the Heart" books, but haven't read them yet, nor have I ever read the "Little House" books. They are, however, on my list to read, as they sound just like my kind of book. I've watched a few episodes of the "When Calls the Heart" show, and now you've inspired me to go back and watch some more. I do so love those shows that hold dear the values, morals, and lifestyles that are now so rare.

Thank you for this beautiful post...I am filled with inspiration, refreshment and vision for the home whenever I stop by your blog. It's one of my most favorite places on the web.

Sending prayers for your daughter and hoping all goes beautifully well with her upcoming delivery! Joy and peace to you ♥

gracie said...

Always a calming pleasure to visit with you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenny always enjoy your posts ,Iwas wondering where you got your apron from or did you make it ?
mary ann

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Hi Mary Ann- I made my apron. :-)

Nanna Chel said...

Jenny I will be praying for Jenny. Not long now. Did you get some rain at your place? I was so excited to see on the news that Townsville had had a storm but hope that you didn't have any damage as it sounded fairly wild.

Little Quiltsong said...

What a beautiful cover! Love the embroidery very much! What a joy to use each day.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenny,
Prayers always for Blossom and the little one.
We get When Calls the Heart here on the Hallmark station. Great series.
I too have Allie's patterns for the quilt.
Haven't started yet as I'm making an auction quilt for our church's mission auction with the ladies in our quilt ministry. It's their first time doing such an undertaking as they are new quilters.
But I'm looking to work on it this summer.
Take care and be blessed always
Faith in texas

Little Penpen said...

I love your cover for your home planner. I like the way you are going to set it up and I hope you will continue to share ideas from your new planner. I love Allie's Mercy block; and am so thankful for God's mercy for me... over and over and over again! Praying for Blossom; it won't be long now!

Jenny said...

I love the series 'When Calls the Heart'! My husband & I watch it together. I also have a weakness for fiction. I have a very long list of favorites but I'll keep this one brief.

Favorite authors....
Anything Jane Austen - my favorite is Persuasion
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte' - I really love reading Jane's inner struggle with right & wrong. It's very well written
Francine Rivers - My favorite of hers is 'The Last Sin-eater'. It's set in the Appalachians. I grew up there & some of the culture in the book is familiar to me. The story is powerful.
Grace Livingston Hill- These are older books that my grandmother read when she was young. The language is outdated & they're very 'proper' but I fell in love with them as a teenager through my grandmother & read them occasionally when I want a sweet clean story.

I read constantly & have to exert some self-discipline with it or I neglect important things!

Mercedes Pelegrí Perez said...

Ohhh que bonito lo haces todo !!
Bordas como los angeles !!! Eres una fuente de inspiración para mí !!!
Me encanta tus trabajos

Abby said...

My niece and her husband are moving half way across the US to live close to me. I was thinking of making them a binder with all the pertinent information they would need as well as what the city has to offer. You just gave me the means for which to start on this. I can't wait to get started, now to raid my stash and find some goodies to start with.
Many prayers for Blossom as she proceeds to delivery.

Lorrie said...

Janette Oke, the Canadian author of the books that inspired When Calls the Heart, wrote many books in the 80s and 90s (75 of them in total). I devoured them all and owned many of them when we lived in South America, but didn't bring them back to Canada with me. Love Comes Softly is the first one, I believe, and is full of homey scenes and a tale of love on the prairies. I often see her books in thrift stores. I think you would enjoy them a lot and hope that you can find them in Australia.

Lin said...

Am praying for Blossom and hope all goes well. Love the idea of your planner but think I would spend more time planning than doing! Definitely going to try a birthday planner though. xx

Farm Quilter said...

So glad it was a false alarm with Blossom!! Will continue prayers for her and the baby. I love the Little House on the Prairie series and have read it several times as an adult. I'll have to look for When Calls the Heart. I need to make one of your books for prayer requests and answered prayer...reminding me who/what I am praying for and the answered prayer to give thanks for!! You are so organized with everything...I am more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of gal, but I certainly appreciate the peace and beauty you bring to your home and family (and you kindly share it with us!).

gail said...

Dearest Jenny,
What a lovely post today and what inspiration your words bring me. We are in a very busy time just now with big decisions to make as our life seasons change and I enjoy the calmness of your beautiful blog. I am going to follow your example of having just one household folder. I think it’s a good idea as at present I have several. You way makes good sense.
Thank you again I thoroughly enjoyed today’s post and will pray for your daughters safe delivery of her precious little one.
Blessings Gail.

Brenda said...

Hello Jenny; Once again as I read your post, a pleasant quietness settles over me and a smile forms. I am grateful that you are structuring your homemaking in a way that is helping you so much! In the past, I have tried doing this method. It just did not work for me but it is so kind of you to offer your suggestions and methods with others. Hopefully guiding them to a method that will work for them also. Your stitchery and fabric choice for your lovely new binder cover is so lovely. Thank you for sharing your brilliant projects with us! I will definitely keep Blossom and the entire family in my prayers as the great event is drawing close! Take care Dear Jenny. Have a fantastic day!

Janice said...

You'll be very organised now. The binder is beautiful and the quote so appropriate. I can't believe that Blossom is so close to full term. It will be lovely to welcome a new addition to your family.

Tammy said...

Jenny I am in love with your cover. It turned out beautifully. I have never heard of that book before. I am taking a break from reading to concentrate more on my hand stitchery. But I fell madly in love with the entire book series for Diana Galbaldons Outlander series. Still praying for Blossom and babe.

Tammy said...

I loved Little House on the Prairie...My daughter and I read and reread those books a few times when she was young....Magnificent books and tv shows.

Michelle said...

I love how organised you are, I used to be but since my eldest daughter shifted back home 6 months ago and we share the household duties, (I work and she's at home expecting her first child, my first grandchild) we both do things a little differently I have had to learn to let a few things go for the sake of peace. I like things a certain way and she's not as fussy as I am, a learning curve for both of us!!! Keeping your daughter in my thoughts.
I love that movie series! Have you seen Love Comes Softly series?
Have a great day

Susan said...

You are all in my prayers daily. I have notebooks! I don't know why it hadn't occurred to me to make covers for them. It isn't as if you don't show them constantly, or as if I haven't disliked the plain covers. =P Sometimes I need to be hit over the head with an idea, I guess! Your covers, and your stitcheries, are each perfect for their notebooks. Thank you. I really appreciate your telling your categories, because it showed me a couple I could expand into.

Janette Oke - read anything! I've read every book, and watched all the ones made into movies, series, or otherwise available. Definitely uplifting and so many times it made me reflect on things in my life - how they'd happened, how the Lord had show Tender Mercies to me during them, and how they'd changed and developed me.

Nanette said...

Jenny, I love your planner stitchery and your ideas for your planner. To have everything all in one place will be so great. Have you seen Hallmark’s Ultimate Gift movie series? It’s based on a book series also called The Ultimate Gift written by James Stovall. I got the books on Kindle free at different times. It is really thought provoking and makes you want to be better, do better things in your life. Blessings to you and your family...

Liz Stevens said...

Lovely post. My children( now adults) would sing a song about Mercy. I now have it in my head again. Mercy,Mercy Gods loving Mercy that saved both you and me. .

Anonymous said...

I love reading your post dear Jenny! You are so encouraging and I feel the love shine through everything you do. I love reading Amish novels - they are so full of Gods Word, recipes and quilting, all the things I love to live a simple domestic life. Ive visited the Amish communities a few times now and as a community they really inspire me to live the way they do. Putting God first and loving each other. Although
not the 4am start to their day! Thanks for your inspiration. ��

Deborah said...

Hi Jenny, I am praying for Blossom and baby. What a blessing to be looking forward to another grand baby! :-) I love your blog and this post is so encouraging!!! I can't help but smile as I read what The Lord has you share here. :-) God bless you and you family Jenny! Smiles, Deborah:-)

Fee said...

Love, love, love your planner. I'm so pleased that "our" current favourite series is bringing you so much joy xxx hope you had a wonderful day today. Love you xxx Fee

Christine M said...

Your binder looks lovely, Jenny. My plan is to put together a folder with all the favourite recipes I make for the family. I'll be making one each for my boys for when they leave home.

I found When Calls the Heart last year. I'e finished watching all the shows. Hopefully they'll be making more.

Sending hugs to Blossom. Love Christine xx

Deborah said...

When Calls The Heart is a wonderful series both shows and book. We enjoy them.

Your household organization is amazing! It would be wonderful to have all the info in one place.

Allie-oops Designs said...

OH my word that binder cover is gorgeous. And what a great idea, almost like having a virtual assistant to keep you on track! Great buy on the printer cartridges, I wish I could find a sale like that, next time I get a printer I'll look at cartridge prices FIRST, lol. I love your Mercy block - the colors are so soft and lovely! Can't believe anyone would turn down God's mercy, if we WANT God's mercy we must show it ourselves!
I've been reading far too much, I need to put the books down and be stitching, lol. Keeping darling Blossom in prayer....she's probably ready to get this over with already, bless her! Love to you both!

Diana Lopes said...

Omg, your home planner looks so adorable!! Thank you for sharing the details, I think I'll make one for my home too!

Lori said...

So pretty and inspiring! Can you recommend a pattern for making a binder cover? I don't know where to start. I have seen some on pinterest, but yours seems more padded? Thank you for all the pretty things you share!

Blessings from TX!

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Lori, I did a tutorial about five years ago - http://www.elefantz.com/2013/08/tutorial-household-binder-cover.html

Lori said...

Thank you, Jenny!!